This morning, a true hero passed away.
At 59, Wendell Cutting left behind a legendary, world-wide reputation as a civil activist, philanthropist, and fierce advocate for women, children, and the poor. Even so, I’ll always remember him as my personal champion and hero, and I grieve the passing of my friend.
Following my presentation to the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Board of Governors, Wendell provided comfort and encouragement as my family fought for accountability in the aftermath of my son’s assault. In one memorable phone call, he laughed as he told stories of the many times he’d played tag with death. But then the tone of our conversation grew serious. “I’ve been told several times that I only have a few months to live,” he said, “but this time, I think the prediction is true.” Before hanging up, he made a vow that has meant the world to me and my son: “I’ll fight to my dying breath to see that justice in your case is served.”
Wendell maintained his commitment to us and that promise until the very end. Behind the scenes, Wendell introduced me to Assembly Member Jay La Suer, who agreed to publicly endorse the legislation we proposed by serving as author for the bill. As Assembly Bill 2165 cleared obstacles and various committees, we called Wendell to share the good news. Even from his hospice bed, Wendell found the energy to cheer us on, reveling in each bit of progress we made. I’m very sad that he won’t be around to see the bill through to final passage, but I’m glad that he’s no longer in pain.
Rest in peace, Wendell. You’ve worked hard on this earth, and you’ve earned your sleep.